Too Much Connectivity
Last night I attended an event at The J Soho – the guest speaker was Allison Josephs, of Jew in the City fame.
Allison and I have met several times over the past few years, and always “see” each other online all day long.
We had a chat about how connected (ie online) we both are – and how hard it is to strike the balance between work and family and online time.
When the children were smaller they needed me more. They needed me physically more than emotionally. These days with my baby turning eleven next week (where has the time gone??), the boys are pretty much self-sufficient until it comes to food and money. Then they remember that Ima exists. And that’s the way it should be. Of course I exaggerate and they need me for a lot more, but the point is made.
I am at the computer (or the iPad or the Phone) all day long. From the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep. If I wake up at 1 am (usually in a cold sweat that I posted the wrong content on one of the social media accounts that I manage) I check to see if I missed any important messages. It’s a little ridiculous. I tell myself that because I am a social media manager I have every right to be plugged in 24/6. But the truth is I need to set stronger boundaries.
On a typical day I leave my “office” (think Harry Potter’s bedroom under the stairs, because that’s the size and location of my current office) around 4 pm to head up to the kitchen to make supper. Usually I have been at my desk since 6 am, with brief breaks for the gym and an errand or two if necessary. But the iPad comes with me to the kitchen so that I can stay connected while I cook. We’re all very good about leaving cellphones behind when we sit down to eat en famille. But as soon as the dishes are cleared, and the food put away, it’s back to being connected.
I try very hard to be present at the times that it’s important, but I need to work at stepping away from electronics and bandwidths at other times too. The KoD has always locked his cellphone up in the locker when he goes to the gym to work out – I need to do the same. I use my phone for music but I end up Facebooking from the elliptical, tweeting from the ab-cruncher. I don’t have to multi-task. Life will not end if my Facebook feed does not get updated for an hour. (Although the emails will start rolling in – are you OK? There’s been nothing new on your wall for 52 minutes!!)
Last night at the event I was juggling the SmartPhone and the iPad – and eating and chatting with my tablemates. At one point I felt that I needed to put away the devices and just enjoy the moment. Yes, part of what I do is to share the moments with my online followers, but am I losing out on enjoyment because I feel I have an obligation to stay connected?
Even on Fridays, when I am not working at my desk, but cooking up a storm in the kitchen, I am Instagramming photos, updating Facebook with my culinary creations, and trying to stay up to date with what’s going on online. I have tremendous FOMO – fear of missing out.
As I read this back I wonder if this is an addiction that many of us suffer from – the need to be connected, or is it just our new way of life? When I have to switch off for Shabbat or Chag I have no problem. I love the 25 hour break from the world, and I don’t suffer from withdrawal symptoms at all. No phantom vibrations, no cold sweat at the lack of connectitude. Just peace and harmony and contentment.
How about you? How connected are you?